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Murphy helped me with my illness - Moody

RUGBY star Lewis Moody has told of how Ireland's Geordan Murphy helped him deal with a rare bowel condition.

Moody, writing in his recently-published autobiography, said he had been diagnosed with the rare illness ulcerative colitis in 2005, and the symptoms of the condition left him embarrassed, furious and depressed.

Typically, the symptoms are similar to bad food poisoning, with unpredictable bouts of diarrhoea and severe fatigue. In the worst cases, it can lead to incontinence.

The same condition has recently forced Manchester United's Darren Fletcher to take a break from football.

England star Moody wrote of his experiences: "Everything I do now has to take into account my colitis.

"I continue to watch my diet -- no more curries, red meat (especially lamb), brown bread, caffeine and the protein shakes that I used religiously at Leicester to help bulk up. Even alcohol has to be taken in moderation."

After keeping the disorder a secret for years, Moody decided to confide in his best friend at his then club, Leicester, Geordan Murphy.

"There was no way I was going to let my secret out to a bunch of rugby players who would then mock me mercilessly. I ended up hiding it from them for three years and I slumped into a state of depression," he said.

"Eventually, I decided to tell my best friend at Leicester, Geordan Murphy. He had guessed something was up. He was sympathetic, of course, but he didn't overdo it.

"Geordan made me realise that perhaps it had not been the best course to keep everything to myself."